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Christina Soto Promoted to Weekend Evening Anchor November 16, 2021

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Congratulations to JPR&NM alumna Christina Soto for her recent promotion to weekend evening anchor at NBC2 News in Florida.

Soto started her career in Waco, Texas working for KWTX. There, she covered the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, which gained national attention.

She also stormed chased an EF3 tornado which ripped through a small Texas town and followed the Baylor Bears to the Sugar Bowl for the first time in decades.

She graduated from Baylor University in 2018. After six years in Texas, she is excited to be back in Florida.

Born and raised in Miami, she is happy to be closer to home.

In her free time, Christy enjoys spending time with her dog Sammy, going to the beach, or spending the day out on the boat.

We are proud of you, Soto!

#baylorjprnm #Baylor

Q&A with BizCom Employees Madeline Rockey and Sarah Gill November 16, 2021

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Established in 1999, BizCom Associates specializes in helping international business leaders, entrepreneurs, and franchise companies promote their products and services around the world. For the past 20 years, BizCom has been named one the nation’s Top Independent PR Agencies by industry trade publication O’Dwyers and is ranked as a Top Franchise Supplier by Entrepreneur magazine.

BizCom’s PR, digital marketing, design and publishing divisions provide a range of marketing communications services for such high-profile brands as Neighborly, Edible, Little Caesars, Restoration 1, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, 9Round, Best Life Brands, School of Rock, Friendly’s Restaurants, Gold’s Gym, Getaround, asTech and others.

JPR&NM Advisory Board Member and BizCom President Monica Feid recently hired two Baylor University graduates: Madeline Rockey and Sarah Gill.

Feid shared this Q&A with the two recent graduates.

Madeline Rockey

Rockey joined BizCom as an intern during her last semester at Baylor, and Feid invited her to accept a full-time position upon her May 2021 graduation. She is now leading client calls with national and international organizations on BizCom’s roster and organizing quarterly PR programs to produce national, trade and local media coverage. Additionally, she is one of the most creative minds the agency has added to its team, according to Feid.

Sarah Gill

Gill is May 2021 Film and Digital Media Baylor graduate referred to Feid by a former client who’s daughter is also a Baylor student. She handles social media handles for founders and CEOs of national and international organizations. She also supports regular social media posting for the brands, themselves, and her video work for BizCom has taken our capabilities to a new level.



Q&A with Rockey & Gill

Alumna Madeline Rockey:

What was your college major/degree?

Major: B.A. in Journalism with a concentration in advertising/new media
Minor: Business administration

What kind of job/career did you want to pursue when you graduated?
Anything that fell within the realm of marketing and advertising

What were your favorite classes and who were your favorite professors at Baylor?

Favorite Classes: Media Design, Advertising Management, Intro to Entrepreneurship, Advertising Procedures
Favorite Professors: Dr. Alec Tefertiller, Dr. Marlene Neill, Professor Maxey Parrish, Dr. Cassy Burleson

Did you feel prepared for job interviews after college?

What would you say to undergraduate students to prepare them for the working world?
Jump on internship opportunities
Form strong relationships with your professors
Focus on your writing while you have time to learn and grow
Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone in the JPRNM department to help you with your job search
Work hard on your projects and assignments, that’s what you’ll show future employers

What do you like about the job you have today at BizCom?
I have lots of independence and I’m often able to take my own creative liberties.
I get to manage and work directly with popular name-brand companies and their executives.
Each day is different and there’s always new and interesting assignments to look forward to.
I am treated with respect and I get the opportunity to have my voice heard throughout the company.

What has surprised you about the job you have today?
I was pretty intimidated moving into PR as I’d just spent four years studying advertising. I quickly realized the foundations Baylor JPRNM gave me prepared me for a wide range of marketing/communications opportunities. The creativity that was fostered throughout my educational background in advertising has made me a better account manager.


Alumna Sarah Gill

What was your college major/degree?
Film and Digital Media

What kind of job/career did you want to pursue when you graduated?
Something related to social media or film production

What were your favorite classes and who were your favorite professors at Baylor?
Preproduction, Set Management and Logic were some of my favorite classes. My favorite professors are Dan Beard, Brian Elliott and Bruce Gietzen.

Did you feel prepared for job interviews after college?

What would you say to undergraduate students to prepare them for the working world?
To prepare for the working world, you should be working! Try to get summer internships, semester-long internships or a part-time job. I can’t imagine my college experience without my job with Lariat TV News. Having to balance work and homework will help you with time management skills.

The career center is a great resource for interview prep and resume feedback.
It’s all about connections! So work on relationships with professors, classmates, etc.

What do you like about the job you have today at BizCom?
I love how I am learning new skills about social media management and analytics, and I am given the freedom to design my clients’ content calendars the way I’d like. Some of my friends in social media don’t get to see their work actually posted, and I am lucky enough to see my work posted multiple times a day!

What has surprised you about the job you have today?
I was interested in social media and have personal experience in the field, but I really didn’t know much. My broadcast experience has helped me because I know about timeliness, newsjacking and channeling different clients’ voices. With my supportive team and boss, I am surprised at how quickly I caught on.

Also – I am surprised at how laid-back the job is. I’m used to being a straight-A student who is always working as broadcast producer/reporter on constant deadlines… completely overworked and stressed out! This job is manageable and so much better for my mental health.

Alumnus Levi Norwood Puts Baylor Skills to Use November 15, 2021

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Working for Uplifting Athletes allows Baylor JPR&NM alumnus Levi Norwood to put to use the skills he developed as a student-athlete, PR major and Sport Management graduate student at Baylor University– for something that is inspiring and changing/saving lives.

“Since finishing undergrad and leaving the Journalism, PR, New Media program, I have been everywhere it seems,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to get a small taste of life as a professional football player with the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers before changing courses and returning to Baylor to pursue a masters in sport management.”

Norwood majored in Journalism, PR, New Media and played football and basketball. Like the children of many coaches who move a lot, Levi Norwood does not consider one place home but currently resides in Denver.

He was a part of the winningest class in Baylor football history and helped the school win its first two Big 12 Conference Championships in 2013 and 2014. As the primary punt returner, he holds the school record in career punt return touchdowns  and as a receiver caught 128 passes with 11 touchdowns. He also has one career point for the Baylor University basketball team.

After graduating from Baylor, Levi spent a short stint in the NFL with the Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers, then returned to the university to receive his master’s degree in Sport Management. Norwood works full-time for the Rare Disease Community for Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit agency that uses the platform of college football to shine a spotlight on the rare disease cause while providing our student-athletes a valuable leadership experience as well.

His introduction to Uplifting Athletes was made many years ago.

While at Baylor, Norwood developed a relationship with a local high school student battling Cerebral Palsy and, in the Spring of 2014, founded the Baylor Uplifting Athletes Chapter. And in 2015, he was an Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award finalist.

Norwood spent time as a graduate assistant in the Student-Athlete Center for Excellence until he graduated in 2018. His focus was working with Baylor student-athletes as an assistant academic coach and mentor to students across multiple sports. From there, life took him to Albuquerque to serve as a full-time academic advisor in the athletic department at the University of New Mexico.

“An opportunity in the Alliance of American Football League took me away from UNM but that door was swiftly shut when the league folded after only a few months,” he said.

He returned to Baylor in April 2019 to work as the Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement before joining Uplifting Athletes in the winter of 2019. In a relatively short period of time, he has served in many roles and places for the non-profit organization.

“All these changes came with ups and downs emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially but all have led me to where I am now,” he said. “Being able to tie together my love for athletics and love for loving people, especially those in the Rare Disease Community, has been special.”


Baylor JPR&NM Alumna Jillian Price Has Been Busy Since Graduating November 15, 2021

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Since graduating from Baylor University with a degree in Journalism in May 2020, Baylor JPR&NM alumna Jillian Price has been busy. She began the master’s program in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 2020. Since then, she has written for the school’s online publication, Reporting Texas, interned with the Daily Dot and participated in the NPR Next Generation program with the Texas Observer.

Price is now an editorial intern with Texas Monthly magazine.

“After attending Baylor, I went straight to UT Austin, in the middle of the pandemic!” she said. “Some may call this crazy, but it was the best decision for me.”

Price has always been a go-getter. Originally from Atlanta, while at Baylor, Price interned at WSB-TV Atlanta as a Community Affairs intern, and at Caritas of Waco as a public relations intern. She also served as the secretary for the Baylor University chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

“When I first began studying journalism, I learned a lot about writing structure,” she said. “I have continued to study and practice journalism; I’ve learned that it’s way more than just writing the story. It’s what story you are telling.”

Why does Price love journalism so much?

“Journalism means being a voice for the voiceless,” she said. “It means telling the stories of people in communities who have not been heard. This is what I strive to do in my reporting and writing.”

When she’s not writing or in class, Price loves reading books, listening to music, and taking walks around town.
She is planning to graduate from the University of Texas in Austin in December 2021 with a degree in Journalism and Media.

Baylor JPR&NM Concentrations October 4, 2021

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A concentration in News-Editorial, Public Relations, Advertising, Photography or our emerging sequence in Broadcasting equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to explore a broad-based liberal arts degree, while also earning a skills and theory-based degree backed up with practical experience. All majors in our department must complete a minor offered in another department of the College of Arts & Sciences or a concentration from a school outside of Arts & Sciences.

In addition, our department offers three choices for outside majors wishing to obtain a minor in  JPR&NM: public relations, photojournalism, advertising or the news-editorial minor. Each consists of 18 semester hours. Equally, a secondary major from our department allows students to earn one bachelor’s degree together with a secondary major associated with a different degree program without fulfilling all the core requirements associated with that second degree.

Number of hours/units required for graduation:

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism (JPR&NM) requires a minimum of 124 credit hours

Number of hours/units required for a major/degree: 33 semester hours

Core Courses for ALL Students in the JPR&NM Program:

JOU 2303 Reporting and Writing for Media

JOU 3325 Editing

JOU 4380 Law and Ethics of Journalism

Courses in track/sequence that all students in track/sequence must take: Degree emphasis (Provide number of credits earned.)


All courses are 3 credit hours.

Sequence I: News Editorial

JOU 3355 Media Photography I

JOU 3375 Advanced Reporting and Writing

JOU (3376 or 4359) History of American Journalism or History of Photography

JOU 4325 Advanced Editing

JOU 4340 Writing and Editing for On-Line Media


Sequence II: Public Relations

JOU 3367 Principles of Advertising and Public Relations

JOU (3374 or 3375 or 3389) Public Relations Writing, or Advanced Reporting and Writing, or Magazine and Feature Writing

JOU 4368 Advanced Public Relations

JOU 4371 Public Relations Media Programming

JOU (3355 or 4325 or 4340) Media Photo I: Introduction or Advanced Editing, or Writing and Editing for Online Media


Sequence III: Advertising

JOU (3320 or 3367) Advertising Procedures, or Principles of Advertising and Public Relations

JOU 3321 Advertising Copywriting

JOU 3369 Media Design

JOU (3374 or 3375 or 3389) Public Relations Writing, or Advanced Reporting and Writing, or Magazine and Feature Writing

JOU 4315 Strategic Communication Research

JOU 4320 Advertising Management


Sequence IV: Photojournalism

JOU 3355 Media Photography I: Introduction

JOU 3356 Media Photography II: Photojournalism

JOU 3357 Advanced Photography

JOU 3358 Video Photojournalism

JOU 3369 Media Design

JOU (3374 or 3375 or 3389) Public Relations Writing, or Advanced Reporting and Writing, or Magazine and Feature Writing

JOU 4359 History of Photography


Elective course or courses that must be taken within the track/sequence:

Sequence I: News Editorial

Nine semesters of any level JOU electives, not to include JOU 3372 Writing for Media Markets

Sequence II: Public Relations

Nine semesters of any level JOU electives, not to include JOU 3372 Writing for Media Markets

Sequence III: Advertising

Six semesters of any level JOU electives, not to include JOU 3372 Writing for Media Markets

Sequence IV: Photojournalism

Three semesters of any level JOU electives not to include JOU 3372 Writing for Media Markets

Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication Announces 2021 Educator Award Winner: Dr. Cassy Burleson September 27, 2021

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Cassy Burleson, senior lecturer, Baylor University wins for her exceptional dedication to student success

DENVER ― Oct. 1, 2021 ― The Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication (SWECJMC) today announced its inaugural Educator Award winner, Dr.Cassy Burleson, senior lecturer at Baylor University. Burleson was selected for this award for her innovative teaching practices and her exceptional commitment to her students’ education.

As one of her colleagues explained, Burleson transformed the PR program at Baylor University and was essential in the effort to make it a premiere department in the field. Single-handedly, she recruited more than 200 internship sites and formalized intern assessment procedures. In addition to her teaching schedule, she supervises an average of 40 interns each semester and conducts sites visits to each site every semester.

“Cassy is one of the hardest workers I know,” said Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, department chair, Baylor University. She is innovative and committed to making sure students are prepared for the job market. She has helped our department institute practices that result in meaningful student outcomes for students. In particular, she spends hundreds of hours each semester coordinating portfolio reviews, doing site visits, recruiting a ‘dream team’ of experts, developing a diverse speakers list and compiling the results of internship evaluations to improve the program.”

Burleson has taught in the Journalism, Public Relations and New Media Department at Baylor University since 2001. She teaches public relations, writing, reporting and editingcourses, and has earned several accolades over the course of her career.

“Deep gratitude to site leaders who saw the value of paying and mentoring interns, students who worked harder and learned faster, supportive colleagues (especially bosses, TAs and work study students), alumni and practitioners all over the country who generously pour their expertise into our program and hire our graduates, and to those who keep our classrooms as free of COVID as possible,” said Burleson. “And to all those who taught me the value of developing courses tuned to the needs of potential employers.”

The SWECJMC Educator Award recognizes a faculty member at a SWECJMC member institution who demonstrates outstanding contributions to journalism and mass communication education. Faculty members at all ranks who employ inventive teaching practices, measurable student outcomes, and/or classroom-focused research were considered for this award. The SWECJMC intends to offer the Educator Award annually going forward.

“We celebrate Dr. Burleson’s work in the classroom and collaboration with her community to ensure her students are well prepared to launch their careers,” said Michelle Baum, president, SWECJMC. “The intention of the Educator Award is to honor the meaningful work of journalism and communications faculty, and we congratulate Dr. Burleson for exemplifying how novel approaches to education can transform learning experiences and empower students to realize their potential.”


The Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication promotes the recognition, welfare and progress of journalism and mass communication education in the Southwest part of the United States. Members of SWECJMC include journalism and mass communication programs in institutions of higher education offering the baccalaureate degree in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. SWECJMC is an affiliate of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. For more information, visit https://swecjmc.wp.txstate.edu/.


Hellman Takes on New Role as Graphic Design Specialist for the UNT College of Music September 27, 2021

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Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media alumnus Matt Hellman (BA, Class of 2013) has joined the University of North Texas staff as a Graphic Design Specialist for the UNT College of Music.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Matt continued his education at the University of Missouri-Columbia where he earned his Master in Journalism with a concentration in Visual Editing and Management. While working toward his degree, Matt served as Assistant Director of Photography and Archival Manager for the Columbia Missourian news organization.

He spent the last five years as an award-winning print media designer for a Central Texas news company, Granite Publications, and he is a regular contract photographer for Stephen F. Austin State University’s alumni publication, Sawdust Magazine. His photography and design works have been published in more than 150 digital and print publications.

In his spare time, Matt pursues his creative passion for photography by serving as stage manager, photographer and digital director for Solar Rain, a central Texas fire performance collective that performs lead acts at renaissance festivals in Texas.

2021 JPR&NM Homecoming Program to Honor Former Professors September 27, 2021

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Baylor University’s Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media will dedicate three walls during this year’s homecoming reception at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, in Room 245 of the Castellaw Communications Center.

The walls will honor three former JPR&NM faculty members who made an important contribution to our department during their years of service and beyond: David McHam, Doug Ferdon and Carol Perry.

Honoree David McHam

David Mcham taught at Baylor University from 1961-74. He is a retired newspaperman who set a record as the longest tenured journalism professor in Texas while teaching at four different universities in Texas from 1961 through 2015. In addition to Baylor, he taught at Southern Methodist University (1974-98), UTA (1998-2001), and the University of Houston (2001-2015). He specialized in courses emphasizing writing and communication law. Named the outstanding journalism teacher in the nation by the Society of Professional Journalists in 1994, McHam said he “didn’t ever intend to teach.” McHam earned his bachelor’s degree from Baylor in 1958.


Honoree Doug Ferdon

Doug Ferdon, Ph.D., joined Baylor in 1982, as the Lariat adviser and later became a full-time faculty member, teaching Law & Ethics and History of Journalism. He also served as chair while teaching. In his long career at Baylor University, both as a faculty member and as chair, Dr. Doug Ferdon’s primary focus was on students. He mentored, nurtured, and empowered numerous generations of young journalists and public relations professionals. He stayed in touch. He made connections. He wrote untold letters of reference and recommendation.

Since his retirement in 2014, Ferdon has continued as an adjunct instructor, although he said when he retired that he was going to “just read books and play golf.” He didn’t.


Honoree Carol Perry

Carol Perry is a former full-time lecturer (1994-2019) for the Baylor journalism, public relations and new media department, who taught graphics design.

Perry was the recipient of various professional awards from the Texas Municipal League, Texas Municipal Information Officers, Texas School Public Relations Association, National School Public Relations Association and accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America.

She served as the public information officer for the City of Waco and the Waco Independent School District for 21 years.


Professor Bob Darden, alumni engagement chair, will dedicate the David McHam Wall. Senior Lecturer Cassy Burleson will dedicate the Doug Ferdon Wall. Undergraduate Program Director Liz Bates will dedicate the Carol Perry Wall.

In addition to the dedication ceremony, we will have tours of the building. Other points of interest include Associate Professor Clark Baker’s exhibit titled, “Migrant Journeys.”

The reading room display case and outer wall feature the scholarly contributions of JPR&NM faculty whose research is driven by compassion, courage and curiosity. These faculty help make the world a little brighter.

We are also excited to share many new posters and updated signs created by members of the JPR&NM beautification committee. Other updates include classroom collaborative learning environments, updated furnishings and more common spaces for our students to study and work on group projects.

Baylor’s Excellence Funds and the College of Arts & Sciences funded the wall and this year’s beautification projects in the department.

We are grateful!

Mike Blackman, Gone But Not Forgotten September 26, 2021

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Photo courtesy of Mia Moody-Ramirez

Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media faculty, students  and staff  are sad to lose former colleague–Mike Blackman. He died Sept. 23 at age 77. He had been in poor health for several years.

Blackman, who served as the Baylor JPR&NM’s Fred Hartman Distinguished Professor for several years, was a kind colleague who was known for the delicious Christmas cookies and eclectic collection of paintings that he shared with the department each year.

Blackman was a Baylor University journalism alumnus and veteran reporter and editor. He brought several speakers to the department and organized an outstanding alumni banquet.

He was talented and warm-hearted. Blackman became editor of the Star-Telegram in 1986 and led what many described as the transition of the newspaper into a top-rated news organization.

Blackman was a 1967 graduate of Baylor University and The Ohio State University in 1974.

He was vice president and executive editor for the Star-Telegram for eight years, editor for two years, and editorial director for three years. After retirement in 1999 he also worked as senior writer/editor at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He held the Fred Hartman Distinguished Chair in the Baylor journalism department at the end of his career and also taught journalism at Sam Houston State University.

He was a military policeman in the U.S. Army Reserve and a flight-line mechanic in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and supervised staffs that won numerous local, state and national newspaper awards.

“He was the best friend and coworker I ever had,” Henry Holcomb, a former senior editor at the Star-Telegram, said in a Facebook post.

“Mike’s mother-in-law baked very good cookies and Mike was nice to share them with us each Christmas,” said retired office manager Margaret Kramer. “He will be missed.”

Senior lecturer Cassy Burleson added that she will miss his sense of humor.

“The world is better for his life in journalism and the many friends he made along the way,” she said.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy Pomeroy Blackman; two sons, Jay Blackman and wife Emily and children Audrey, Juliette and Madeleine in Houston, and Sawyer Blackman, a student at Texas Tech in Lubbock; and two daughters, Molly Blackman of Austin and Emily Blackman of Los Alamos, California.
Condolences to his family, friends and classmates.


Migrant Journeys Exhibit by Photography Professor Dr. Clark Baker September 17, 2021

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The Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media is pleased to highlight Dr. Clark Baker’s photography exhibit titled, “Migrant Journeys.”

During the summer of 2019, Baker taught photography to 20 migrants and refugees through Centro Interculturale di Aiuto ed Orientamento (CIAO) in Syracuse, Sicily and plans to continue this work in 2022.

CIAO offers services to help participants adapt and integrate into Italian society.

Gabriel di Silva, Director, CIAO stated that “… using cameras he had acquired and shipped at his own expense, Dr. Baker taught photography to 20 of our participants. His teaching methodology, connection and care for his students empowered them to produce meaningful and expressive work, and for likely the first time in their lives, they were truly the protagonists in their own life story. I had hoped for such an outcome, but wasn’t sure we could get there. Through Dr. Baker’s commitment and vision we did!”

In addition to taking photos, Baker interviewed his subjects.

“During my journey, I have seen many people die, in the desert, in prison and in the ocean… I pray every single day for those people,” one migrant worker said.

Another explained why he believed it was worth it to come to Italy.

“We are still poor but we get by,” he said. “Here we are equal, the color of our skin is not important. It is true that there are lots of people who do not accept us but I think they should reflect on the misconceptions they have about immigrants.”

Another described his difficulties in making it to Italy.

“We left the shore (of Libya) in an inflatable boat with 125 people and within two hours of the journey 23 people fell into the sea. We tried to help them but many drowned. Among those people there was my friend who I travelled part of the journey with,” he said.

Alumna Valonia Walker, APR, Promoted to Senior Communications Specialist for Aldine ISD September 7, 2021

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Congratulations to Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media alumna Valonia Walker, APR, who was recently promoted to Senior Communications Specialist for Aldine ISD.

Walker joined the Aldine ISD Communications team in June 2019. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Baylor University and a master’s degree in strategic communication and innovation, and a certification in advanced and digital media from Texas Tech University.

In December 2020, she received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).

Before beginning her career in K-12 school public relations, Walker worked as the social media and events manager for Theater District Houston. She helped create a collective voice for Houston’s performing arts scene via digital and print media, managed a bi-weekly Food Truck event, and orchestrated one of the largest free Theater District events, Theater District Open House.

She is also an active member of the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA), Houston Area School Public Relations Association (HASPRA), and the Houston chapter of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Walker enjoys telling K-12 education stories of students and staff and can do it in 140 characters or less.
#Bayloruniversity #baylorjpnm #sicembears

News Pioneer and Legend Rick Bradfield Passes Away September 5, 2021

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The world lost a news pioneer and a legend when KWTX Managing Editor, long-time adjunct faculty member and Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media alumnus Rick Bradfield, 66, passed away on Sept. 2, 2021.

Students benefited from his wisdom, patience and sweet spirit. Before Student Media Director Bruce Gietzen was hired in 2019, Bradfield was the primary source of information for majors interested in broadcast journalism.

“Such an incredible person,” said Kennedy Dendy in a Facebook post. She is a reporter and anchor for KEZI 9 News in Western Oregon. “Feels like just yesterday I was sitting in his broadcast journalism class my senior year at Baylor. His teaching and guidance was top notch. Taught me how to conduct my first live shot, and I still think about his words each time I’m reporting.”

In another Facebook post, JPR&NM alumna Amanda Hill Lewis said. “Rick was such a compelling storyteller, I’ll always remember him telling us about his experience covering the Branch Davidians. He will be missed.”

Bradfield’s career spanned 45 years in Waco. JPR&NM faculty and staff often noted Bradfield’s sense of humor, loyalty and strong work ethic. Bradfield, who had been sick for several months, worked right up to the day he passed away. Cause of death is reportedly a heart attack.

“While he hadn’t been feeling well for a few months, in true Bradfield fashion, the dedicated newsman being remembered today as a ‘pioneer,’ a ‘legend,’ and a ‘giant of a man,’ worked until the day he died,’ said KWTX colleague Julie Hays.

He was a Baylor JPR&NM adjunct professor for 25 years. He taught electronic news. Bradfield is also known as being an upstanding human being.

“This one hit like a sledgehammer,” classmate Bob Darden said. “Rick and I were in David McHam’s Journalism 101 (or whatever it was called) together in Fall 1972… there are few people I’ve known longer or respected more than Rick Bradfield. I giant of a human being.”

He loved talking about politics and the news, said Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Chair.

“My husband, Augie, and I spent many occasions with him and Cassy, and he always made us laugh. I am going to miss his wisdom and contributions to the department.”

Bradfield is survived by longtime partner Dr. Cassy Burleson, sister Nancy Bradfield, and son Rob Bradfield.

Prayers for his many friends, colleagues and family.

Baylor Well-Represented at AEJMC 2021 August 11, 2021

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The Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media department were well represented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference on Aug. 4-7.

Three faculty members participated as panelists for eight sessions, as well as presented five research papers, two of which received awards. In addition, Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez served as a keynote speaker for the pre-conference workshop titled “Eyeing the Job Market as a Doctoral Student.”

Dr. Moody-Ramirez served on four panels during the conference. Topics included “Demystifying Academic Speaker Fees: Setting Rates as Underrepresented Scholars”, “Hate/Free Speech”, “Becoming a Public Scholar: Connecting Research to the Popular”, and “Contextual Advertising and BLM Appropriation.”

In addition, she and her coauthors presented the paper “An Analysis of Memes and Misinformation about Kamala Harris’s Rise to U.S. Vice President.” Her coauthors include Dorothy Bland, North Texas; Gheni Platenburg, Auburn; Mira Lowe, Florida; and Lawrence Mosley, Omni Analytics Group.

Dr. Marlene Neill served as a panelist for two sessions and presented two research papers. The panel topics included “Why Should Communication Practitioners Care about Moral Psychology and Ethics of Care? and AEJMC/Peter Lang Scholarsourcing Series: Book Roundup with the Scholarsourcing Authors”, which will feature the book she coauthored with Dr.Juan Meng, “PR Women with Influence: Breaking Through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges.”

Dr. Neill also presented coauthored papers titled “Ethical Organizational Listening in Issues Management for Stakeholder Engagement and Moral Responsibility”, coauthored with Shannon Bowen, South Carolina, and selected for the Professional Relevance Award; and “Moral Orientations and Traits of Public Relations Exemplars”, coauthored with Patrick Plaisance and Jin Chen, Pennsylvania State.

Dr. Alec Tefertiller served as panelist for two sessions and presented three research papers. The panel topics included “It’s All Fun and Games: The Blending of News, Advertising, and Entertainment in the New Media Environment” and “Doctors Are In: Keys to Success in Mentoring and Collaborating with Graduate Students on Research.”

Dr. Tefertiller presented coauthored papers titled “A Vaccine for Social Media? Factors Moderating the Negative Impact of Social Media Use on COVID-19 Protective Behaviors”, coauthored with Nancy Muturi, Raluca Cozma, and Jacob Groshek, Kansas State; “Am I binge-watching or just glued to the couch? Viewing patterns, audience activity, and psychological antecedents for different types of extended-time television viewing”, coauthored with Lindsey Maxwell, Southern Mississippi; and “Speak Up or Quiet Down? The Spiral of Silence, Opinion Leadership, Social Capital, and Presidential Candidate Support on Social Media”, coauthored with Jacob Groshek and Raluca Cozma, Kansas State, and selected for second place faculty paper in the Political Communication Division.

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly Special Issue Deadline Extension June 9, 2021

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The Role of Communications in the Black Lives Matter Movement

The Black Lives Matter movement marks an important period in US history that scholars must continue to study from many angles—including the use of communication in grassroots activism.

To date, there have been more than 41 million Black Lives Matter tweets, and the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag is also prevalent on other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Still, little is known about the role of communication tools in the creation and perpetuation of the BLM movement.

The intensity and perception of the BLM movement continues to evolve. A tipping point in the movement occurred on May 25, 2020, when white police officers killed George Floyd by placing his knee on his neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd, who allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill, was in handcuffs. People from all over the world began protesting systemic racism and police brutality. Many social media users expressed their opinions and demanded action— often using the #BLM hashtag to garner support for the movement to end police brutality and other social injustices.

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly is soliciting submissions for a special issue on the Black Lives Movement with a focus on communication channels, grassroots efforts, and social movements. We are seeking research contributions that examine social media activism and the use of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag in the broader of the social movement.

Manuscripts may explore a range of topics, including the BLM movement as one outcome of citizen frustration and a catalyst for policy change. Other topics may include dominant myths and stereotypical narratives of blackness and how those are framed and reframed on social media channels. Also of interest are the effects of social media on citizen engagement and activism; and the impact of gender and globalization on the BLM movement.

Contributions to this special issue may employ a variety of methodological approaches and explore different forms of communication, including newspapers, social media platforms, and broadcast media. Submissions are encouraged to examine a range of dominant frames, myths and social media narratives that depict BLM in a negative light and how the BLM movement has countered some of these narratives and been able to reframe them in a more positive manner.

This special issue will provide an opportunity for theory-building toward more comprehensive, comparative models of social media effects in the BLM movement.

Extended deadline for Submissions: July 15, 2021
Expected Publication: Summer 2022

Guest Editors: Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, Mia_Moody@baylor.edu, Baylor University &

Earnest Perry, Missouri School of Journalism, perryel@missouri.edu.



Alumna Elvia Aguilar Graduates from Leadership Program May 24, 2021

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Congratulations to Baylor JPR&NM alumna Elvia Aguilar, a recent graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi, a training program for emerging and existing leaders that builds the needed skills, knowledge, motivation, and vision to develop a stronger community.

Aguilar is the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, who oversees the Austin, Houston and San Antonio Islander Alumni Chapters and the Islander Mentorship Program.

“It is my job to keep our family of Islanders near and far connected with our Island University,” she stated on her website. “Our goal is to grow alumni involvement and pride year-round. I am always on the lookout for ways to build bridges that connect current students to our more than 50,000 Islander Alumni.”

She graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Island University in 2017.

”Thanks to the values my parents instilled in me, I have a deep passion for serving my community and I believe higher education helps cities be successful,” she said. Yes

Established in 1972 by the Chamber of Commerce, the program is the third oldest community leadership program in the state. Over 1,200 graduates are having a powerful impact on the community.

Alumnus and Wife Andrew Church Celebrate Birth of Twins May 24, 2021

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Alumnus Andrew and wife Karen Church welcomed these two bundles of joy into the world in April.

In this photo, Abigail “Abby” Beatrix Church and Adam Bairn Church rest after lunch next to their parents.

Abby and Adam were born 5 weeks premature at just over 4 pounds, but are currently thriving at over 8 pounds a cutie. Their summer plans are learning how to sleep at night and focusing on objects farther than a foot away.

Andrew is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Missouri at Columbia. He graduated from Baylor University in 2019 with a master’s degree in journalism.

Spring 2021 Chair’s Update  May 21, 2021

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Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D.

Professor & Chair Baylor

Hello and welcome to the Spring 2021 Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media newsletter. As you all might imagine, our department has been busy this year. The pandemic brought with it numerous challenges, but we persevered through another semester of what many people labeled “impossible.”

We continued to make strides with the following updates to report:

I am grateful to work with such a hardworking and collegial group of colleagues. This newsletter highlights other achievements by students, staff and faculty in our department.

Outstanding Faculty 

We are excited to have several faculty members in our department who received teaching awards. This issue highlights Maxey ParrishBob Darden and myself.


Dr. Marlene Neill, APR, presented at this year’s International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) and won a top paper award. Neill also had a paper accepted for the International Communication Association Conference.Three members of Baylor JPR&NM department presented their research at this year’s virtual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Midwinter Conference, Drs. Alec Tefertiller, Chair Mia Moody-Ramirez and graduate student Emily Guajardo. Guajardo has been named Outstanding graduate student by the department twice.

Student Media Department Updates

The Baylor Student Media department celebrated another successful year in state, regional and national journalism competitions. The Lariat, Lariat TV News, Roundup and Focus have nabbed 147 awards for 2020-2021 so far, despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic “This was also the year we shifted our focus to almost 100 percent digital with only a dozen special print issues, and our students really stepped up to the challenge.  I’m proud of their work,” said Director of Student Media Bruce Gietzen.

Alumni Updates

Sara Dodd, Ella Prichard, Kay Wheeler Moore and Brittany Burcham

In this newsletter, we hear from several alumni, including Sarah Dodd, a new Advisory Board member, alumna Ella Prichard (‘63), who reflects on her experiences as a Baylor Lariat editor. We also learn what it was like for trailblazer Kay Wheeler Moore, one of the first women to cover the Kentucky Derby. Alumna Brittany Burcham explains how TikTok helped her spread messages of hope for teenagers in the foster care system.

Alumni Accolades

Clair St. Amant, Flora Peir, Alexis Cubit and  Parmida Schahhosseini

Alumni kudos are extended to Baylor journalism, public relations and new media alumna Claire St. Amant, whose latest project is a true crime investigative podcast about the mysterious disappearance and death of college wrestler, Dammion Heard. Sports reporter and former NABJ president Alexis Cubit recently accepted a new reporting position after two years of covering sports for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. She will soon join The State Newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, where she will cover Clemson Athletics. Flora Peir, ’03, recently joined the “19th,*” a newsroom focusing on gender, politics and policy, as its first news editor. After spending six years in the agency world, Parmida Schahhosseini recently became the communications manager Central Presbyterian Church in New York City.

Susan Duty, Grace Valentine and Lauren Kinney  , shown above, are authors on the move.

Congratulations to the 2021 class of Hall of Fame honorees highlighted at the Baylor Line Foundation’s 56th Annual Hall of Fame Festival: Shehan Jeyarajah (’16); Prichard (’63Michelle Andrews Smith (‘90, MIJ ‘91). Congratulations to award-winning author Preston Lewis, (’72), who has been elected to the Texas Institute of Letters. Preston Kirk  discusses tips for journalists who are covering protests. David McHam shares insight on Baylor’s extensive connection to United Press International UPI.  Baylor alumnus Robbie Rogers describes the many  challenges he faced during the Covid-19 pandemic as Baylor’s director of photography.

In other alumni news, Baylor JPR&NM sponsored its first annual meeting on April 16 as part of Baylor’s 2021 Alumni Week. The event featured a state of the department update, an update on student media programming and awards by Student Media Department Director Bruce Gietzen and an introduction of faculty and staff by Alumni Engagement Chair Bob Darden. The virtual event was well-attended by alumni, advisory board members, faculty and friends of the department.

Guest speakers were Cody Soto, a JPR&NM graduate student, and Emmy award-winning Melissa Wilson, anchor for FOX 26 Morning News weekdays and a medical reporter for FOX 26. Baylor JPR&NM alumnus Derwin Graham concluded the Academy Speaker Series, also held during alumni week.

On a sad note, in his memoriam column, David McHam pays homage to several of our noteworthy alumni who have passed away, including Lee FulbrightBill HartmanLouise Later Wood and Harry Marsh.

Lee FulbrightBill HartmanLouise Later Wood and Harry Marsh

Farewell to a JPR&NM Icon

On another sad note, in May, Baylor JPR&NM said farewell to Office Manager Margaret Kramer, who prior to her retirement had worked at Baylor for 33 years. Kramer will spend more time traveling, reading and with her beautiful family. Baylor faculty, staff and students will miss her.

Donor Support 

Thank you all for your continued support of Baylor JPR&NM!  With your support,  the department awarded around 69 scholarships to students who are majoring in journalism, public relations and new media this year. Scholarship funds are made available thanks to generous contributions from donors.

The department launched the Doug Ferdon Scholarship campaign this spring, raising more than $3,500. Any donor wanting to support this fund should visit http://www.baylor.edu/give. In the search funds text box, type “Dr. Doug Ferdon.” Ferdon’s endowed scholarship fund for JPR&NM will appear as an option to select for the giving form; then complete the requested donor details and payment information selections for gift processing.

In other endowment news, JPR&NM funded the Sara Stone scholarship in record time last December. Another $50,000 was donated in honor of Sara Stone. In addition, many donors graciously gave to the Journalism and Public Relations Excellence Funds.

Kristyn Miller, assistant director of development at Baylor University, has been meeting with various donors on our department’s behalf to raise funds for student scholarships and building improvements. Christie Harper, assistant director of Affinity Groups, is also an invaluable resource for our department. We are thankful for them both.

Baylor JPR&NM friends please stick with us and stay in touch. We have some exciting programs and projects on the horizon. We are grateful for your support of our department, students, faculty and staff!

I hope you enjoy this newsletter. If you have suggestions or anything you would like to contribute to future issues, please email Mia_Moody@baylor.edu or Administrative Associate Lanisa_Tovar@baylor.edu.

Thank you and God bless! Have a wonderful summer!

Congratulations Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media 2021 graduates! We are proud of you all!

Baylor’s Student Media Nab Multiple Awards May 19, 2021

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The Baylor Student Media department is celebrating its students’ great success this year in state, regional and national journalism competitions. The Lariat, Lariat TV News, Roundup and Focus have nabbed 147 awards for 2020-2021 so far, despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This was also the year we shifted our focus to almost 100 percent digital with only a dozen special print issues, and our students really stepped up to the challenge.  I’m proud of their work,” said Director of Student Media Bruce Gietzen. “As our alumni know, they set the bar high for excellence with our Lariat platforms, and that tradition lives on thanks to the hard work of our students and professional staff.”

The Lariat’s robust digital content won the top prize from the industry’s leading publication – Editor & Publisher’s Emmy Award for best college campus website. The Lariat is also keeping in step on the social media front. College Broadcasters Inc. recognized its social media accounts as the best in the nation, and The Associated Collegiate Press lauded The Lariat for best use of social media as well.

The Baylor Lariat and Focus magazine both won silver Crowns from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and Roundup received Overall Excellence in yearbooks from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

Many other state and regional journalism organizations honored our student media outlets throughout the year, too, including the Society of Professional Journalists, College Media Association, Baptist Communicators, Press Women of Texas, National Federation of Press Women and ACES: The Society for Editing.

Click here for a full list.

Alumna Follows Heart May 19, 2021

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After spending six years in the agency world, working on behalf of top clients such as JPMorgan Chase, Verizon, Intel, BNY Mellon, Parmida Schahhosseini (’14) decided to do something more purposeful. She saw that her church, Central Presbyterian Church in New York City had an opening for a communications manager so after much prayer, she decided to pursue the position.

“It’s only been a couple of weeks since I started, but already I’m energized about the opportunities available to use my gifts to serve God,” she said.

Schahhosseini is also a former associate editor for http://LastWordOnProFootball.com covering the New York Jets and the NFL. She also contributed to The Jet Press. She started her sports writing career at the Baylor Lariat covering Baylor Football, Basketball, Softball and Soccer.

“It’s funny how life can be sometimes,” she said. “We plan for things. My goal in college was to become a senior vice president at a global agency one day, but God had a different path and he reoriented my desires accordingly.”

During her free time, Parmida enjoys running, reading, writing and belting Creed songs. She currently lives in New York, but is a true Texan at heart.

“I’m extremely blessed and excited for what else God has in store,” she said.


Congratulations to this Year’s Scholarship Recipients May 17, 2021

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Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media offers nearly $200,000 in scholarship funds to students each year. An additional $40,000 is set aside for incoming freshman and transferring journalism majors.

This year, the department awarded around 69 scholarships to students who are majoring in journalism, public relations and new media from 21 endowed scholarships. Scholarship funds are made available thanks to generous contributions from donors.

To apply, current and incoming journalism majors must submit applications with all required material by March 6 each year. All applications are available in December.

We are excited to announce the recipients of this year’s JPR&NM scholarships. Congratulations!


Frank E. Burkhalter Scholarship

Jillian Dunbar

Hayden Hatch

Alexis Konovodoff

Carson Lewis

Moorea Long

Olivia Martin

Olivia Mohney

David A. Cheavens Scholarship

Julia-Rachel Dominguez

Ava Dunwoody

Madeleine Fossler

Clara Lincicome

E.S. Fentress Scholarship

Rebekah Carter

Kaitlyn Coats

Jillian Dunbar

Kathryn Herd

KelsieAnn Trank

Wilson Fielder Jr. Scholarship

Madeleine Fossler

Charles D. Johnson Scholarship

Madeline Hishmeh

Lauren Holcomb

Rebekah Hollingsworth

Cooper Howard

Journalism Department Scholarship

Lynn Hood

Cooper Howard

Grace Jakel

David McHam Scholarship

Meredith Howard

Harry & Frances Provence Scholarship

Katy Durham

Grace Jakel

Al Quinn Scholarship

Olivia Mohney

Adrian Vaughan Scholarship

Clara Lincicome

Mr. and Mrs. Carmage Walls Scholarship

Kailey Davis

Lauren Gibson

Bradley Springman

Hope Miller Scholarship

Erianne Lewis

Elizabeth & Russell Hallberg Scholarship

Olivia Martin

Tommy West Journalism Scholarship

Drake Toll

Debra W. Hampton Scholarship

Hannah Smith

William & Joanne Moore Scholarship

Luke Araujo

Kerry Burkley

Morgan Carter

Rebekah Carter

Sofia Castaneda

Kaitlyn Clink

Emma Ethridge

Rae Jefferson

Jade Jennings

Bethany Kula

Timothy Longoria

Kera Mingus

Jenny Nguyenm

Jenny Nguyen

Heather Nixon

Savannah O’Leary

Annaleise Parsons

Ivan Dave Rejolio

Camryn Runyan

Richard Shull

Danielle Skinner

Hannah Smith

Anna Tabet

Reilly Tartre

Christian Vasquez

Mary Watson Vergnolle

Sue Mayborn Journalism Scholarship

Rachel Chiang

Essence Cummings

Kameron Johnson

Erianne Lewis

Mikaila Neverson

Katelyn Patterson

Jamie Samson

Drake Toll

Kassidy Tsikitas

Shaw Whittle

Frey & K. Frost Scholarship

Bethany Kula



Alumna’s Podcast Tops Chart May 14, 2021

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Baylor journalism, public relations and new media alumna Claire St. Amant’s latest project is a true crime investigative podcast about the mysterious disappearance and death of college wrestler, Dammion Heard.

In week three and pretty close to 100 thousand downloads, the podcast offers listeners a front row seat to what really happened following the mysterious disappearance of a college freshman who went missing after a wrestling team party in 2014. His body was found four days later on a Colorado cliffside.

“As I dug into Dammion’s case, I couldn’t believe how many twists and turns it took,” St. Amant said. “Thanks to the new witnesses and information I’ve found, I believe Dammion’s friends and family are closer than ever to the answers they have been looking for since his untimely death over seven years ago.”

The podcast format allows St. Amant to explore Dammion’s story in more detail than anyone ever has before.

“It’s been quite the reporting journey, and it’s really gratifying to see it out in the world and gaining a following,” she said. “We all have those stories that stick with us long after the headlines have faded. I’ve never been satisfied with the conclusions others have drawn in the Dammion Heard case.”

The podcast debuted at No. 30 on Apple Podcast’s true crime charts and has had over 80 thousand downloads in its first month.

St. Amant has worked as a field producer for CBS News “48 Hours” since 2014. She was part of the breaking news team nominated for an Emmy in 2016 for “Bringing a Nation Together,” a special report on the Dallas Police shooting. In 2019, she began contributing to “60 Minutes,” with “The Ranger and The Serial Killer.”

She got her start as a reporter at People Newspapers. Before joining the national media, she was the managing editor for the popular daily news site CultureMap Dallas. A graduate of Baylor University and a returned Peace Corps volunteer, St. Amant is a native Texan who has also lived in South America and Eastern Europe.

She loves few things more than a good story and a long run, though her husband and son are notable exceptions.

Link to podcast: